Workshop – Erik van Zuilekom

Erik van Zuilekom

Erik van Zuilekom, Fytogreen

Workshop times are displayed on the Registration page

Erik van Zuilekom is a vertical garden, green roof, green facade designer, botanist and species selection specialist for the realm of living architecture. Through intensive exposure to botanical habitat studies, practical ecological works, horticultural and nursery experience, coupled with extensive living architecture design and maintenance experience, Erik has developed a unique arsenal of specialist design skills to address the challenges of urban architectural and ecological greening from both small-scale public to large-scale, commercial, installations.

Amongst circa 200 projects, these include:

  • Victorian Desalination Project Roof Garden, Australia (Largest green roof complex in the southern hemisphere and Australia’s first large-scale indigenous species roof garden 26 000m2)
  • Medibank Building, Docklands (Roof gardens, balcony gardens, circa 500 green facade planters to 16 stories and vertical gardens covering 5 stories)
  • 1 Bligh Street, Sydney (Black water fed, external, undulated surface vertical garden, thermally insulating substantial, passively driven building exhaust vents)
  • Federal Street, Auckland, New Zealand (Large-scale NZ native species, column-form, vertical gardens)

There is a severe lack of practical design expertise and specialist information available to those entering into, and wanting to expand upon, the realm of vertical garden design. From within this sometimes secretive industry, Erik recognises the importance of disseminating these experiences to assist others to plan for and achieve sustainable solutions for urban greening. Erik would like to see greenlife ecologies deeply integrated into the urban fabric and psyche, not as passive claddings, rather, as responsive technologies.


Workshop:  Vertical Garden Design -Practical Considerations for Ecological Planting on the Vertical 

Vertical gardens and architectural greening are concepts addressing environmental and social challenges presented by urban growth and development. Amongst myriad benefits, roof gardens cap and insulate buildings, capture rain, create habitat, valuable recreational space and reduce the urban heat-island effect. These impacts are maximised whilst buildings are wider and roof areas larger, though high-rise structures offer notably larger surface areas to their vertical aspects. Vertical gardens expand on the tangible and intangible urban greening benefits by converting sterile urban streetscapes into vegetated urban canyons of notable greenlife diversity and functionality. Designing these gardens requires skills not available to most designers and plant experts, notably in terms of the specialist field of designing adaptive artificial ecologies capable of surviving urban exposures. This tutorial will introduce attendees to the technologies, provide interactive exposure to practical design considerations, brainstorm general challenges and contemplate the profound and far-reaching possibilities encompassed by vertical gardens.